CHARLESTON, S.C. (courtesy charlestonsouthern.edu) — African American students make up approximately 16 percent of K-12 public school enrollment in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Even fewer are the available African American teachers in public schools. Although South Carolina’s African American K-12 students make up almost 50 percent of the public classroom, less than 20 percent of teachers in the state are minorities and less than 1 percent are African American males. In an attempt to resolve racial inequality and increase the number of minority male teachers in South Carolina, Charleston Southern University has implemented the Call Me MISTER program.
The Call Me MISTER (Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models) program was founded at Clemson University, originally partnering with three historically black institutions: Benedict College, Claflin University and Morris College. The program seeks to recruit future male teachers with broad, diverse backgrounds who want to serve as role models to African American K-12 students in lower-performing elementary schools. Nine institutions around the U.S. have participated in the program, while 21 colleges and universities across South Carolina have continued this goal of increasing Black male teachers for disadvantaged students.
As one of those participating universities, Charleston Southern began the Call Me MISTER program in fall 2020. The program director of Call Me MISTER, William Ross, welcomed CSU’s first cohort in its fall opening, and an additional cohort of five MISTERs will be named by summer for the fall 2021 cohort.
“CSU offers their student participants with this high academic opportunity to teach and serve the socioeconomically disadvantaged and educationally at-risk communities within local K-12 public schools,” said Ross.
MISTERs consist of any minority male student enrolled in a K-8 education major (early childhood, physical education and special education). As a MISTER at CSU, you may qualify for up to $10,000 in scholarships per semester. Through the program, students receive mentors, professional development and internship opportunities that involve mentoring children of various ages.
To apply for the program, complete the Call Me Mister online referral application at the MISTERs website. For more information, students can contact William Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.